Coconut oil is often referred to as a superfood due to its unique blend of medium chain fatty acids and other healthy compounds, but because there is a great deal of buzz surrounding this sweet, solid fat, there are many facts and myths about it also. Although coconut oil has a wide variety of health benefits, there are additional negative claims that are nothing short of a myth. Read on to find out the top ten most shocking facts and myths about this versatile and delicious superfood.
Myth: Coconut Oil Irritates The Skin
Many heavy oils and fats are irritating to skin because they block pores and cause a build up of the skin's natural oils. Over time this can lead to pimples, blackheads, swelling, and other signs of skin irritation. Alternatively, many oils contain compounds that can dry out the skin or otherwise cause harm to it. Coconut oil, however, is not at all irritating to skin or hair as it melts into a light oil that coats skin with moisture. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, and fights common skin problems such as rashes, insect stings, and allergic reactions. It also has antimicrobial properties, making it the ideal salve for a variety of skin disorders and mild wounds.
Fact: Coconut Oil Helps To Protect Against Diabetes And Other Metabolic Disease
Diabetes does not happen suddenly in most cases, but is instead a result of many years of blood sugar disturbances. Recent studies have found that coconut oil has a surprising effect on a person's metabolism and blood sugar control. Coconut oil reduces insulin resistance and improves insulin efficiency in the body, particularly in muscle cells. This, in turn, helps to keep blood sugars low, preventing both diabetes and the whole body damage that it can cause. People who are at risk of diabetes or other metabolic diseases should consider making this fat part of their daily diet.
Myth: Coconut Oil Is Too Thick To Be Absorbed Easily
It is true that coconut oil is thicker than many other oils, as it is a solid or semisolid at room temperature. Many oils and lotions are thinned to make them easier to spread, whereas coconut oil readily becomes a thin liquid oil at normal body temperature. The result is that is can be easily rubbed into the skin, where it forms a light coating and is then quickly absorbed. In addition, extra virgin coconut oil is unlike most natural oils because it is neither sticky nor greasy. For this reason, it is a popular choice among massage therapists and tanning beds as a safe, functional, and easy to clean oil.
Fact: The Type Of Fatty Acids In Coconut Oil Are Highly Ketogenic
Although the ketogenic diet was originally developed as a treatment for serious neurological diseases such as intractable epilepsy, it has rapidly become more popular due to its health benefits. Those who follow the keto diet generally lose weight and build muscle mass quicker and with far less effort. Coconut oil is the optimal choice for keto dieters because it is low in carbohydrates and is also considered to be highly ketogenic. Also, the medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil are transformed directly into ketone bodies in the liver. These ketones have been found to increase energy, increase weight loss, and contribute to solid overall health.
Myth: Coconut Oil Tastes Bad
Some avoid trying coconut oil because they are concerned about the taste or texture. However, this is rare as coconut oil does not have a strong flavor and is not at all sweet. It can be used to cook a variety of foods, from Asian or Polynesian main dishes to sweet desserts and pastries. Many who eat or cook with coconut oil notice a light nutty or coconut-like flavor, but the taste is mild enough that it adds complexity to flavors, rather than overwhelming them. Individual tastes vary, but most find the flavor of coconut oil very versatile and enjoyable.
Fact: Coconut Oil Can Decrease Appetite
Fats in general tend to be more filling than other sources of calories because they take far longer to digest. However, coconut oil has a special advantage beyond this effect when it comes to decreasing appetite and making one feel fuller for longer. Results found in a study that observed the dietary choices of grown men, those who ate more medium chain triglycerides like coconut oil reported less hunger and ate around two hundred and fifty calories less per day. Another study found that those who consume medium chain triglycerides for breakfast are more likely to eat significantly less at lunch as well. Therefore, eating more of this healthy fat may reduce caloric and fat intake overall.
Myth: Saturated Fats Are Bad For Cholesterol Numbers
Most have heard the warnings against consuming too many saturated fats because they have a bad reputation for increasing LDL (or bad) cholesterol, and otherwise leading to less healthy lipid numbers. However, not all saturated fats have this negative effect on the body. The saturated fats found in coconut oil seem to have the opposite effect, reducing negative lipids such as LDL and triglycerides while increasing the good cholesterol, HDL. The results include, a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. Coconut oil is one saturated fat that can be enjoyed without the guilt of possible adverse health effects.
Fact: Eating Coconut Oil Can Increase Your Metabolism
The fact that coconut is highly caloric is often presented as an argument against consuming it. With obesity being one of the fasting growing health threats in the world, it is easy to see why many are concerned. However, cutting calories is not as effective in weight loss aid as actually increasing one's metabolism. Since not all calories are equal, they burn differently depending on their origin. Consuming just fifteen to thirty grams a day of medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil can increase metabolism by up to five percent, or about one hundred and twenty calories a day. This translates to a pound or more a month of weight loss, even without any other lifestyle or dietary changes, if ones caloric intake is otherwise the same.
Myth: Coconut Oil Becomes Rancid Very Quickly
Many are reluctant to purchase coconut oil because of it's moderately expensive price, and because they believe it will go bad quickly. However, this is a myth. On the contrary, coconut oil is one of the more shelf stable oils and fats on the market today. Most kinds of coconut oil are good for about eighteen months after production, which is similar to many other fats and oils. Extra virgin coconut oil and other preparations with a higher oil ratio will keep even longer. As long as care is taken to keep it away from water droplets and direct sunlight, coconut oil should have a shelf life comparable to other kinds of edible fats.
Fact: Populations That Eat Coconut Oil Regularly Are Statistically Healthier
Populations that consume a high amount of coconut oil are proof of its amazing health effects. The Tokelauan in the South Pacific, for example, have a diet that is over sixty percent coconut and coconut products. Despite consuming what the Western world considers a dangerously high level of saturated fats, these tribes have almost no incidence of cardiovascular disease, a longer lifespan, and markedly lower risk of many of the world's most deadly diseases. Researchers believe that the coconut oil that makes up the majority of their fat intake acts to protect their heart, rather than harming it.